In Guns We Trust
Photographs by Jean-François Bouchard
Foreword by Douglas Coupland
About In Guns We Trust
Deep in the heart of America, one feels transported to the war-torn regions of the Middle East. The recreational use of military-grade weapons has become a cherished pastime for many aficionados. Shooting ranges host events each year attracting thousands of participants who utilize machine guns, canons, bombs and even tanks for recreation. Their targets include zombie pictures, barrels, mannequins, scrap cars and explosive charges that go off when hit. Participants see this activity both as a sport and as a way of life, connected to the American ideals of freedom and self-reliance. Jean Francois Bouchard’s photographs show this reality from a new perspective by documenting the left over relics from this recreational pastime.
Many photographers have taken an interest in gun culture in the US. Bouchard’s point of view brings to light the new extremes of military-grade weapon use and adopts a cinematic form that transforms reality into a surreal and eerie parallel world. Shot from the sky or at night, the photos become eerily beautiful. Bullet-ridden shipping containers glowing in the night, decimated vegetation and exploding or burning scrap cars show the after-effects of this fringe group’s passion for heavy weaponry.
In Guns We Trust walks us through a different viewpoint in gun culture, where family and recreational time completely hinges on pulling the trigger.
Meet the Artist
Jean-François Bouchard has worked in contemporary visual art since 2003, traveling the world seeking out people whose interests and lifestyles are out of the ordinary. His visual focus is generally on lesser-known communities who share uncommon passions. His goal is to take viewers past their biases to see the humanity even in people who adopt the most marginal behaviors or beliefs.
His work has been exhibited in galleries, museums, and festivals in Canada, the United States, and France. Transpose is Bouchard’s latest body of work which was exhibited at Arsenal Contemporary Art and won the prestigious Nannen Prize in Germany after being featured as 6-page documentary in Stern Magazine. After spending two decades overseeing 800 employees and juggling between his artistic and business career as founder of global companies Sid Lee and C2, Bouchard stepped down for his day-to-day roles to focus on his artistic endeavors.
Bouchard lives and works in Montreal.
Arsenal Contemporary New York City, April 2019
Arsenal Contemporary Montreal, May 2019
Arsenal Contemporary Toronto, April 2020